You will no doubt have been in the position where you’ve been discussing purchase opportunities with your prospect and the subject of your competitors comes up.
Whether it’s the price you are charging or their needs to get different quotes, or many other reasons, it can be quite deflating when the competition is brought up in the sales meeting.
Should you try to by-pass the issue? Should you try and knock them out of the ball-park? What’s the best response when the competition are brought up?
Here are some ways to deal with it:
1) If it’s a price issue, meet it head on
Don’t try and evade the subject or downgrade the competitor’s products. Instead of knocking them down, build yourself up.
If they are cheaper than you, concentrate on the value you bring to the marketplace, especially for this specific client. Identify the main challenges they are facing at present and discuss how your solution actually does a better job than any competitor.
Your research should tell you what you do better than the competitor, so focus on what those better things are. If the customer simply wants cheap, then maybe you need to adjust your spec or even decide if this is the right customer for you.
But if value is at the top of their list of priorities, show them how your solution works better for the customer in the long run.
2) Discuss how your solution is niche in the marketplace
They will see your competition as someone who can compete with you, only if you are seen as selling a commodity. You need to show your value and differentials in how you approach the sales offering.
Essentially, you need to show that your offerings are niche in some respect in that they can’t be compared to your competitor’s. If that’s the case, there isn’t a comparison between yours and the competitor’s offering.
3) Offer ideas and expertise that the competition doesn’t
Yes, they may have brought up the competitor, but who’s in front of them at this moment? Who has your rapt attention in this meeting? Who can share their expertise in the prospect’s situation right now?
While you’re there in the meeting with them, you’re in the box seat. You can build on the relationship with them, discussing areas of concern they have with their business and how you can help and assist now. The competition can’t.
Take the opportunity to prove your worth to the customer at this moment. Show how your ideas can build their business up now. Remember that they haven’t thrown you out, they are still talking, so there are still opportunities.
Share your ideas on how their business could be running in the future. Look ahead at how they need to be structured in one, two- or three-years’ time. Create awareness in what your business can do for them during that time.
This will reduce the impact of the competition and the very nature of the conversation will attract their focus to you, not the competitor.
4) Use case studies to show your value to others, so they can see your value to them
This is my favourite way of dealing with competitors in our business. If you show how you have helped other companies like theirs accomplish goals, hit their objectives, become more productive or gain more profitability, they will see your value go up in their eyes.
Highlighting the overall benefits of dealing with you often shows the competition’s pricing structure up for exactly what it is….cheap rather than valuable.
Discuss what is most important to the customer. If they are thinking about using the competition because they need to save money, show them how your products can actually cost less in the long run, so they save money for the long-term, not just on the purchase price.
If you’re able to overcome the main reasons for using the competition, you create a firm foundation for their business to be using your solutions rather than someone else’s.
That will make you more valuable to more customers and start to eliminate the threats that your competition may cause.